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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya

We Indians celebrate all festivals with vigour
over the years Ramadhan has been an occasion of happiness and joy for all
Living in the  UAE last 6 years I had  always enjoyed Id
now in Brunei its no different though the celebrations have small differences

One of the most important functions to Muslims all over the world it falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar ,when it is believed that the holy Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammed (PBUH).
This is the month of SAWM or fasting .
Every muslim is expected to fast from dawn to sunset ,they have predawn food before Fajr ( prayers ) called suhoor and after prayer call at sunset ( Maghrib ) .During fasting they are to avoid any eating or drinking or even swallowing saliva and avoiding worldly activities concentrating on religious activites and on charity .
A month of austerity and spirituality with purity in thought and action .
A month of serving the needy and hungry ,a time of piety and goodness ,a time when man realises what hunger is and feels for his compatriot ,a time whne he thanks God for all he has got .
Breaking the fast  gatherings  are the Iftar parties .



In many countries specially in India these occasions have become an exercise in diplomacy and powerplay where prominent political parties and honchos and business people hold elegant Iftar parties ,but many of them are also abound with genuine feeling of brotherhood and friendliness and also as family gatherings .
I was fortunate enough to have attended a few over the years .
the first bite of a ripe date and the cooling of parched throats by a sweet juice was bliss to those who fasted the whole day ,it gave them also a spiritual satisfaction .
.There was gladness and cheer in every conversation


In Al ain in the  neighbourhood mosques   huge trucks rolled in with mounds of Biriyani for the needy served  in airconditioned tents .

In Brunei its called Hari Raya Puasa which literally means “Celebrate the fast” or “Feast of Breaking the Fast” and Aidilfitri also has a similar meaning in Arabic.
they also say that Puasa derives from Sanskrit meaning ‘fasting or abstention’. and Hari Raya Puasa means‘great day of fasting’
 As the celebration marks an end to the Ramadan month, the first day of the celebration would fall on the first day of the Sawal month.

during the whole month of fasting restaurants in Brunei compete with each other to provide buffet fast breaking dinners ,catering to different budgets and this is a delight to food explorers
Thai ,Malayan ,Indian ,Bruniean ,Indonesia ,Chinese philipino not to mentions Japanese continental are all there for the asking
to our dismay we found out that going a bit late one could find no seat and less food too !
another unique Bruneian custom is to gift hampers for Muslim friends .
there are also cute decorations on doors
there is also discount sales at all malls during the Hari raya month

Istana Nurul Iman is the residential palace of the Sultan. The palace is only open to public on the first 3 days of Hari Raya, immediately after Ramadan,

the best part of course is that his royal highness the Sultan of Brunei gives audience to every single person who visits the Royal palace during these days which is a great privelge and honour .
Every visitor can partake in buffet and part with a token gift .

so here is wishing you all


ID Mubarak and Selamat Hari Raya

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